T.A. Voronina. The Diet of Siberian Peasants on Lenten Days (the 19th Century)
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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology
of Eurasia

39 (4) 2011




The Diet of Siberian Peasants on Lenten Days (the 19th Century)

T.A. Voronina.

This article focuses on the traditional diet of Russian peasants who lived in Siberia. The dietary structure included oneday fasts and longer Lents which implied limitations in everyday diet including partial or complete abstinence from food. The everyday diet of Siberian peasants preserved both general traits of Russian cuisine and local eating habits. It is noteworthy that in addition to well-known dishes of the Siberian dwellers (fi sh soup, pelmeni, pirogi), wild plants were widely used in the diet. The fasts were observed even in harsh climatic conditions, for example, in Yakutia or in places of confi nement on Sakhalin. Work in the fi elds, seasonal trades, and non-agricultural activities of peasants were timed to fasting periods. Even children were taught how to fast from their early childhood. The importance of fasting was not only the abstinence from a particular type of dish; fasting helped to strengthen morality and fostered many positive qualities. Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author reveals that fasting played a major role in the life of Siberian peasants.

Keywords: Russian people, peasants in Siberia, traditional diet, material culture, fasting.